Julie Bishop was caught out texting while driving yesterday.
I know you’re busy Julie, but this is one time multitasking is not a good idea.
I know you’re not the first politician to be caught out fiddling with their phone in traffic, but I hope you’re the last.
I don’t remember the accident at all.
The first thing I remember is sucking on one of those brilliant pain whistle things while trapped in the back seat.
My left leg felt really really weird but I couldn’t move it. I shifted around a little and a paramedic leaned in the window to talk to me.
“Please don’t move, we are working on getting you out but if you could just stay still for now that would be best,” he said.
I was stuck in a crumpled two-door hatchback, and one of my legs was doing something strange. One of the other passengers in the car told me later that they had never heard screams of pain as bad as mine that day.
The amazing, wonderful, leg-numbing painkillers basically made me high, and I remember very little about the trip to the hospital in the ambulance, or how they got me out of the car.
My hip was dislocated, but miraculously I hadn’t broken any bones. After they put me under and popped it back in place I woke up in emergency waiting in the line for a scan to determine if I had any spinal damage.
I wasn’t allowed to move until my back and neck were cleared by a doctor, something that took over 24 hours because the first scan hadn’t been done properly.
Until I was moved onto the ward I lay there with the safety glass from the car’s back windscreen still digging into me. I ended up spending a week in the hospital, a month unable to walk at all, and almost two months off work.
Because the woman in the four-wheel-drive behind us was texting while driving.
And really, we were very lucky.
There were four people in our little car and we were stopped at a red light. She hit us hard, and the four-wheel-drive apparently became airborne, thankfully landing beside us, not on top of our car.
I was the only one who didn’t walk away from the accident with just a concussion and bad bruising.
It could have been so much worse.
When she got out of her car, the first thing the woman apparently said was “I wasn’t on my phone”.
Clearly, she was. The driver of our car said she seemed very anxious about her phone, and kept insisting she hadn’t been using it, bringing it up herself.
She didn’t have any other explanation for how she had not seen six cars banked up at a red light on a flat, straight stretch of road.
Watch Belgian learner drivers try to pass a “mobile phone test”:
The answer was obvious to everyone.
She wasn’t drunk, there wasn’t any food or drinks involved, she was alone in the car. To have an accident like that, you have to not be paying attention. You have to be distracted for a reasonably long time.
She didn’t want to admit it and face the penalty.
Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. Don’t believe me? Try this interactive the New York Times made in 2009.
Using a phone at all is dangerous, but texting is the worst thing you can do. Think about it. Would you get out a pen and paper and write a note while you were driving? Read a book behind the wheel? No. So why text?
It made me so angry earlier this year when I saw footage of Bill Shorten apparently doing it had surfaced. The person who filmed Shorten also appeared to be driving a car at the time. Dude.
Texting while driving is more distracting and dangerous than driving drunk or stoned. In the Opposition Leader’s home state of Victoria over half of all drivers admit to using their phones while behind the wheel.
You all need to stop. Whether you’re Bill Shorten or Julie Bishop or not, just don’t do it.
The other day my friend was driving and his phone bleated. He picked it up and read a text message.
I asked him to stop but he seemed annoyed that I didn’t approve of his texting behaviour and didn’t put the phone down. So I told him about my car accident and he promised not to do it again.
Now I’m telling everyone else. Distracted texting drivers cause accidents. Imagine how you’d feel if you hurt or killed someone, just because you couldn’t wait to read a text.
It’s not worth it. There is no emoji combo in the world that could justify it.
This post was updated on July 1, 2016.